Schumacher Acknowledges Mercedes’ Struggles in Bahrain – “An Absolute Horror”

Published 03/16/2021, 9:37 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on before the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


If you followed pre-season testing in Bahrain, you must be aware of Mercedes’ less-than-perfect outing. If not, let us give you a brief.

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The Silver-Arrows logged in the fewest laps of anyone in the Bahrain test event. Their W12 was not only blighted by reliability and speed issues, but also looked undrivable. The likes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas acknowledged the problems that the new regulations posed to the rear of their car.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN: Sparks fly behind Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Sakhir at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher knows that Mercedes are not sandbagging. He believes their issues are real, saying “Mercedes is definitely struggling with an aerodynamic problem.”

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Although the FIA froze most of the chassis for 2021, they brought in a few changes to the diffuser and the floor of the cars to reduce downforce. So, that could be the root of Mercedes’ problems.

“You can see from the departures and the problems that Lewis Hamilton also had, that the car does not react as you are used to and as you expected. If it’s a concept question, the question is: Where does it start? Maybe it’s the new design of the tires that doesn’t exactly help the Mercedes,” said Schumacher.

With less than two weeks to go before the season gets underway in Bahrain, it is challenging for the engineers. “So shortly before the start of the season it is an absolute horror.”

Schumacher feels Verstappen is in pole position to dethrone Mercedes

In contrast to them, their main rivals, Red Bull, had a seamless experience in Bahrain. Their RB16B is apparently free of the issues that blighted them last season. Also, Max Verstappen topped the timesheets, so that is another morale booster for the energy drinks outfit.

Ralf Schumacher feels that the Dutchman is in the driving seat for the 2021 title just like Lewis Hamilton was last year.

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“You get the feeling that Max Verstappen is sitting in the Mercedes from last year. Wherever he turns in, the car goes without him having to make corrections.”

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Of course, we must not dive too deep into it as it’s just pre-season testing and Mercedes’ sandbagging approach is becoming more and more famous in the paddock. We’ll get a clearer picture when the team’s return here in 10 days’ time.

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DIVE DEEPER

What is Sandbagging & Why Are Mercedes Frequently Accused of Following This F1 Tactic?

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Bharat Aggarwal

697 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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